A Quick Aston Villa vs Everton preview and form guide
Martinez on Villa
“We won’t underestimate their quality, that’s for sure. Anyone that can beat Arsenal or Manchester City deserves huge credit.
“When they have everyone fit and available, they are as good as anyone on their day.”
Lambert on Everton
“I know this will be a hard game as Everton have been going well.
“They have a different way of playing now. It was probably a good club to go in at that time but Roberto has done well.
“It’ll be a hard game but we’re at home”
Lambert on Lukaku
“When I first came in here, I spoke to Chelsea about Lukaku before we saw Christian [Benteke].
“I knew about him and this club needed somebody to be that type of player.
“Obviously we couldn’t afford that, at that time, and Christian came in and the rest is history, as they say.”
Match Difficulty Grade
B+ Everton have been playing well and their league position shows this, but Villa will be boosted by the full return of Benteke.
Form is Temporary
12 April 2009 Aston Villa 3 Everton 3
Battling to a draw from being 3-1 down, goals from Carew, Milner and finally a penalty from Gareth Barry (who is likely to make a return to Villa Park on Saturday) helped gain a salvaged point.
Aston Villa: Last five League matches at home: W 1, L 4
Everton: Last five League matches away: W 1, D 2, L 2
In the last five Premier League meetings at Villa Park, Villa have won once and drawn three times.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
With Villa’s counter-attacking style seemingly ineffective at home, there have been worrying signs that are further highlighted by our home record – one win in five and no clean sheet since December. While Benteke will be looking to get a full 90 minutes, we can’t overlook Everton’s in-form Belgian, Lukaku. Admittedly Villa aren’t conceding as many goals as last season, but still defensive problems are there to be seen. Everton, who have only lost one game so far at Manchester City will be a tough opponent for a Villa side struggling at home.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
The introduction of Benteke in the second half against Spurs gave Villa Park and the team a massive lift. It was a reception worthy of a player that proved an instant nightmare for any defenders, and sure enough, within a few minutes of coming on, he had narrowly opportunity to equalize with a header. The Belgian’s return will give the whole team a lift against Everton, so hopefully we’ll see the confidence that is needed during home games reflected in the team’s performance.
Why Villa have got this game in the bag
Everton come into this game on the back of several good results, but historically it’s always been a tight encounter between the two teams at Villa Park. We might have lost 3-1 at home last season but that when Lambert was getting up and running, and the team were still wet behind the ears. Tonev came on near the end of the Spurs game and looked like he was adjusting to the Premier League, creating a couple of half-chances. With the return of Benteke, there’s no reason we can’t take all three points and start pushing up the table. UTV
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Goalies: the #1 & #2 keepers for Team USA. Tim Howard is a bit more established and has the #1 spot, but Guzan seems virtually on a par. No advantage.
Defense: Jagielka gets more credit than he deserves. Both defenses seem a bit suspect. Each team’s fullbacks have had some success going forward, but Leighton Baines is a free kick specialist to rival any in the Premier League. Defensively, no advantage, but overall, advantage to Everton due to Baines.
Midfield: Pienaar, Barry, Barkley, Osman, Gibson vs Delph, Sylla, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Albrighton
Obviously, formation makes a difference in how many of these players we’ll see on the pitch at any one time. Delph is a tremendous dribbler, but both Pienaar and Barkley are also excellent, but both better at delivering a key pass. Albrighton is a good crosser, but doesn’t really fit into a 4-3-3 (except perhaps as a right forward, in place of Weimann, but he’s less likely to find the back of the net himself, so Weimann will more likely play, unless Lambert is looking to deliver some surprises). Barry is still a top-notch holding midfielder, and may be more important in assessing Everton’s defensive success this season than their back four. Darron Gibson, well http://eplindex.com/26974/darron-gibson-stats-manchester-united-misfit-merseyside-magician.html
Clear advantage to Everton in midfield.
Forwards: Benteke, Agbonlahor, Weimann, Kozak vs Lukaku, Mirallas, Naismith, Kone, Jelavic
Everton have twice as many Blegians in attack as Villa, but Benteke is equal to any two other players, often making his own chances where it seemed there was nothing. In comparing Benteke & Agbonlahor to any two Everton strikers, I’d have to give the advantage to Villa. With three strikers compared to two, that advantage goes up a little, perhaps, but it’s going to be about how many chances they get, which goes back to the midfield.
Managers: We know Martinez knows how to prepare for a game and come in with a game plan tailored to the opponent. On a number of occasions we saw him manufacture late season desperation victories at Wigan against much stronger teams. Lambert, on the other hand, seems to have two game plans: 4-3-3 counter-attack, or 5-3-2 counter-attack. Lambert’s strengths are in finding decent talent that is under-valued, and developing players and team spirit, rather than match-day tactical brilliance. I’m sure Martinez will try to tell Baines and Coleman not to push up as much, and to wait behind the midfield for fast breaks, though they both love to be in the attack, and Villa’s front line will easily outpace Everton’s centre backs if it comes to a race. Martinez loves to play possession football, but as Man City saw, possession against Villa is not the key to victory, as it only takes one poorly placed pass by a midfielder moving at half-pace to quickly become a Villa goal. They will have to really pressure our defensive line to try to take an early lead, which will surely bring Baines and Colemen into vulnerable positions. The question will be whether or not Everton can capitalise when they are in possession in the Villa third, or if Villa’s defense and midfield can absorb the pressure. Given Villa’s inability to keep a clean sheet at home for nearly a year now, the advantage overall would seem to go to Everton, but they will have to score one more than Benteke and crew to stay ahead.
Prediction: Everton 3-2.
Spurs fan in peacce. I’m a massive fan of the job Paul Lambert is doing at Villa, but I think it will be an Everton win. I just feel they are a little nearer the finished article than Villa, who are currently under-going a re-building.
But, just to re-emphasise, hang onto PAul Lambert and let him nurture this group for 2/3 seasons and the benefits will be there. It may be that half of the current squad are sold on at ahuge profit once Lambert has developed them into good players in their mid-late 20’s with a few good purchases brought in from the profit, or it may be that they form the Villa team for next 5-7 years which could see some really promising signs, but, this year, I still think its a little too early for Villa to worry about much more than mid table finish and really enjoying seeing a quality coach develop some really good young players. In a (not just footballing) world where its all about immediate success as well as money,. I really admire Lambert’s coaching and I am enjoying monitoring the young Villain’s progress. COYS.
Thanks for popping by. Funnily enough, Spurs were mentioned a few times last night at the Villa Supporters Trust meeting with the club last night. Obviously both clubs were in a similar ball park in the past twenty years or so, so after you’ve kicked on the last few seasons, there was a concern about Villa’s ambition to do the same thing. I’m a big fan of Lambert’s ‘proper management’ approach of actually building a close-knit young team. Once he gets the foundations right, he’ll just need to buy a couple of ‘quality’ additions to spark things up for real. UTV
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